I keep homemade crushed red pepper oil on hand to use as a simple condiment and flavor accent. I call it fire oil, and it couldn't be easier to make. Sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes in hot olive oil, let it cool, and ignore it. The flavor lights up over the next day or two, and the longer I leave it, the better. I also make hummus regularly to eat as an afternoon snack, but until now it hadn't occurred to me to combine these two favorites. So here you have it, a hummus of sorts made from pureed garbanzo beans, toasted walnuts, and spicy crushed red pepper oil. The rustic red pepper flecks and translucent olive oil are set against the creamy backdrop of the pureed beans. To finish things off, I couldn't resist a few oily, black olives and chopped cilantro - both of which I had on hand.
If you are wary of spicy foods, add the oil incrementally, or dilute it to your tastes with more olive oil before using. This is one of those recipes where you really need to do adjust to your own individual tastes. My only regret was not baking up a batch of these olive-oil crackers.
Hummus en Fuego Recipe
A couple tips before you get started - rub the skins of the walnuts off a bit after you toast them, it's nothing I really pay too much attention to for a recipe like this, but the skins can be a bit bitter and tannic. And again, make the crushed red pepper oil a day or two ahead if possible.
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted
2 cups cooked (or canned) garbanzo beans, drained
1 medium clove garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup oil-cured olives, chopped
a bit of chopped cilantro
Make the hot pepper oil a day or so ahead of time by heating the olive oil in a small saucepan for a couple minutes - until it is about as hot as you would need it to saute some onions, but not so hot that it smokes or smells acrid or burned. Turn off the heat and stir in the crushed red pepper flakes. Set aside and let cool, ideally for a day or two - to let the flavor really develop.
To make the hummus, give the walnuts a spin in the food processor, just until they are a sandy texture. Add most of the garbanzos, 1 or 2 tablespoons of the red chile oil (oil only, no flakes), garlic, and lemon juice. Now process until smooth. Drizzle in the water a bit at a time and puree more, until the hummus is creamy and billowy. I tend to let the food processor run for a minute or so at this point, it incorporates air into the puree and makes it a nice texture. Taste, adjust the seasoning - more salt, more lemon juice, etc.
Serve in a shallow bowl, drizzled with plenty of the remaining oil and red pepper flakes. I like to add any remaining garbanzo beans at this point as well as some olives and a bit of chopped cilantro for the final touch.
Makes roughly 2 1/2 cups..